I just got done finished watching “The Case For Christ,” a film about a Chicago Tribune journalist who tries to disprove the validity of the Bible after his wife becomes a Christian. To put it mildly, this film is infuriating.
Throughout the nearly two hour long affair we are subjected to a guy named Lee, a person we know little about (except that he won a writing award for his investigative journalism dealing with crime) and that we care about even less. This is a supposedly biographical true story, and what is painted is that of a really unpleasant individual in the workplace, at home with his wife, with strangers who are impacted by his printed words and even with his own parents. I would say there’s nothing to like about him. Even at the end of the film (which we all know how it’s going to end), Lee as a person seems bizarre. His saving prayer — if we are to take the film as a genuine account of what happened — is also suspect. Why? He doesn’t even ask Jesus Christ for forgiveness of Lee’s sins against Jesus, nor does he say or imply that he’ll repent. For a man who spent months trying to “logically” disprove the Bible, did he even read the Gospels at all? Weird.
The whole story and people presented doesn’t sit well with me, and the fact he then went on to suddenly be a preacher after massive publishing success in the 80s … and then both of his kids went on to become Christian authors and theologians as well makes me feel like perhaps we’ve been played. Just because an average person comes to Christ doesn’t mean they are remotely qualified to be a pastor or Christian author. This all comes across as a family profession.
During my studies last fall I learned of Natural Theology, and even wrote a paper on it. Basically it boils down to this: Even if fact-based searching for evidence of God can be found out/verified, it will not make a person believe in Jesus Christ. Given what I saw on screen, nothing to me indicated Lee made that leap because all he did was research the evidence, and not the humanity or love of Christ. Sure, Lee’s “conversion” happened after he had a major failure at work, he was contemplating divorce and his father died … but none of that ties into him suddenly believing that Jesus Christ is the son of God. All he focused on in his hunt was whether Jesus died and rose as described. That’s … not enough.
Looking online for Lee Strobel after this movie, I found that in 2010 he was invited to and attended the “Break Forth” conference in Canada, which is apparently all about emergent church/new age pastors. Apparently Strobel’s church is also an endorser of “contemplative spirituality,” which focuses on regular Eastern religion-like meditation sessions where one empties their mind, instead of focusing solely on typical Bible reading, traditional prayer, etc. Obviously I cannot be 100% sure, but my gut tells me Strobel found an angle to make lots of money long ago, and perhaps has been using his knack for writing as a means of sustaining a journalism career that likely would have ended anyways, when he literally got a man imprisoned and beat up for a false attempted murder of a cop, due to Lee’s poor investigative skills. I would stay away from this film, and more importantly, this Strobel character. Something just doesn’t add up.